TALES OF CHRONOPES AND FAMES
By Julio Cortázar
Englished by Sandra Dermark
CUSTOMS OF THE FAMES
It once happened that a fame danced the truce dance and the katala dance in front of a store full of chronopes and hopes. Most ticked off were the hopes, since they always expect fames not to dance the truce dance or the katala dance but the expect dance, the only one known to chronopes and hopes. Fames stand in front of stores on purpose, and this particular fame was dancing the truce dance and the katala dance to annoy the hopes. One of the hopes left her flutefish on the floor (hopes, just like King Neptune, are always aided by flutefish) and came forth to scold the fame, addressing him like this:
"Fame, do not dance the truce dance or the katala dance in front of this store."
The fame kept on dancing and laughing. The hope called for the other hopes, while the chronopes flocked around to see what the outcome of it all would be.
"Fame," all the hopes said, "do not dance the truce dance or the katala dance in front of this store."
But the fame kept on laughing and dancing still to disturb the hopes. Then the hopes struck the fame down and injured him. They left the fallen fame by a fence, and the fame complained, clad in his own blood and sorrow.
The chronopes stole closer guiltily, those humid green beings. They flocked around the fame and warmed his heart addressing him like this:
"Chronope chronope chronope..."
The fame understood, and his loneliness felt easier.
DANCE OF THE FAMES
The fames singing around
the fames singing and moving
KATALA TRUCE TRUCE EXPECT
The fames dance in the room
under the spotlights and curtains
dancing and singing this way
KATALA TRUCE EXPECT TRUCE
Keepers of the public spaces,
how do you let the fames go
free singing and dancing,
the fames singing katala truce truce,
dancing truce expect truce,
how dare you?
If still the chronopes (those humid and stickly green beings)
were walking out there,
one could shun them with a greeting:
"Good nooning chronopes chronopes!"
Chronope meets fame at Marks & Spencer sale.
"Good evening fame. Truce, katala, expect."
"Two reels. A blue one."
The fame considers the chronope. He will never speak until he knows he's got the right words, fearing that hopes, always on the lookout, will not glide though the air (those shiny little bugs!) and invade the chronope's kind heart due to a word spoken wrong.
"Rainy outside," the chronope says. "All of the sky."
"Don't worry," the fame replies. "We'll leave in my car. To protect those reels of thread."
And he stares into the air, but there's not a hope in sight, and he sighs in relief. He likes, as well, to observe the heartwarming joy of the chronope, who presses the reels of thread (a blue one) to his chest and expects impatiently that the fame will invite him into his car.
Right as he's leaving Liseberg, a chronope notices that his watch is one hour late, is one hour late, one hour late.
Chronope sorrow against a multitude of fames storming Korsvägen at eleven twenty pm and he, that humid green being, is walking at ten twenty pm.
Musing of the chronope: "It's late, yet earlier for me than for all those fames. For those fames it's one hour later; they'll arrive home later, they'll go to bed later... I've got a more lifeless watch, less homecoming, less bedtime... what a little star-crossed humid chronope am I!"
As he nurses a cup of coffee at Gothia Towers, the chronope dips a muffin into his flow of tears.